An Oracle blog about Education and Research

  • April 11, 2019

When and how to adopt new technology (part 1)

David Ebert
Director – Public Sector, Education, Healthcare - Industry Solutions (EMEA)

I have presented this topic at a couple of conferences recently and it ends-up becoming more of a discussion with the audience, than a pure presentation. I like that. Gathering the thoughts of others on this theme is very interesting and therapeutic! I am looking forward to presenting…or should I say 'discussing' this again at the up-coming HEUG Asia Alliance conference.


Can you name an industry that hasn’t been or isn’t being disrupted? Everywhere we look, new entrants to industries are becoming household names prominent smart-phone apps and billion dollar companies in unprecedented timescales. In almost all cases, their rapid rise is made possible by embracing new, innovative technologies. Incumbent leaders are too slow or too reticent to adopt these new technologies and therefore fall-behind or worse still fall-away entirely. 

I won’t bore you with reciting the story of the black logo modern-day transportation company, or the 'bed and breakfast' company with the world’s largest selection of bedrooms. I'll just reiterate that these companies have completely transformed the way we find, book, share and pay for transportation and accommodation.

However I did want to regale the story of another company that could greatly benefit people like me. Carbon - an Oracle customer – is collaborating with Adidas to 3D print the soles of shoes, specific to personalized data-points of customers. This significantly enhances the customer experience, revolutionizes the production cycle and transforms the supply chain process. What did I mean by “people like me”? Well, I have difficulty finding shoes that fit well! 

All change

No industry is immune from disruption and certainly not the education and research industry. Everyone has their list of disruptive forces headings from: globalization, to new education models, to changing expectations and accelerating technology.

Under changing expectations – we all familiar with the huge increase in the expectations of applicants, students and staff today. When I was at university I mostly took what I was given, well okay maybe with a little bit of moaning. Times have changed though and I put this down to three main reasons: 

  1. Higher tuition fees, much higher! I was extremely fortunate to be in the last UK cohort paying no tuition fees whatsoever. Yes, I benefited from a four year Bachelor of Science degree, for £0.
  2. Expectations of the same seamless processes and consumer experiences of smart devices and modern apps. Many students have grown-up immersed in this world. Everything is else is positively prehistoric.
  3. Nowhere to hide! Everyone is almost instantly aware when something is good or bad because of immediate updates on social media.


I could write multiple blogs about the disruptive forces but to save your eyes I’ll switch to cadence and scale of disruption cycles.

Like many industries, education and research has been used to nice, gentle waves of disruption; where we can see it coming, have time to prepare and instigate a coping strategy. I witnessed this when I worked at Imperial College London but before I am lynched by former colleagues I do also remember the panic sometimes thrust upon us as well!

However, the disruption cycles now and in the foreseeable future are intense, pervasive and unpredictable. So, it’s not effective to always pursue a coping strategy of a recovering model. Often now, education and research communities need to be prepared to develop and implement brand new models to cope with each disruption quickly. If not, the next disruption will be upon you and you wouldn’t have recovered from the last one.


Modern expectations and enabling flexible business models are core principles of Oracle Student Cloud. Listen to Central State University's thoughts on this topic.

There are lots more examples of innovative solutions and customer stories on the Oracle Education and Research website.


So, at this point, I wonder what you are thinking about your institution's readiness?

  1. Is your institution immersed in the digital age?
  2. Do you have the tools to enable digital transformation?
  3. Are you agile enough for the next wave of disruption?

To be continued…

Hmm, I just checked my word count. It seems to be growing exponentially but I planned to cover:

  • Innovative technologies and example use cases
  • Deciding how and when to embrace new technologies

So I’ve just inserted a ‘(part 1)’ into the heading and I’ll carry on in a few weeks’ time. I’m just getting warmed-up, so as I hear a lot in the US…stay tuned!

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